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As teachers continue to push to be pushed ahead of the lines for COVID-19 vaccines, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he wants every teacher, school staff, and child care worker in the United States to get at least one shot in March. This comes amidst more guidance that says the schools can safely reopen with the right precautions to protect children and staff.
Using the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Program, 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks will collaborate to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States in efforts to expand access to vaccines for the American public. Last week the Centers for Disease Control gave guidance that teachers do not have to be vaccinated for schools to open, but Biden cited the increased anxieties among America’s educators as a reason for pushing for more access.
“Our goal is to do everything we can to help every educator receive a shot this month, the month of March,” Biden said.
Announced earlier today, Biden and his team will be invoking the Defense Production Act to boost production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since its emergency authorization from the FDA over the weekend. From the White House, Biden said, “My challenge to all states, territories, and the District of Columbia is this: We want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March.”
Currently, there are at least 30 states who have already prioritized educators, but with the use of the federal government to direct the states and the District of Colombia the change will go into effect next week to move Pre-K through 12th-grade school staff ahead in line to get the vaccine first.
While some teachers are wary of the vaccine, many feel that that is the only way for them to be safe. “At this point, I’m ready to do whatever I can to get my life back, ” remarked a third-grade teacher from the metro Atlanta area on social media.
Stay tuned for more updates as this story develops.